Archive for Newsworthy

This week only, through Sunday, December 25, Gluten-Free Saver has partnered with Van’s Natural Foods to raise money to send gluten-free kids to a summer camp next year.

The money collected will be used for scholarships for kids to attend a gluten-free summer camp hosted by the Celiac Disease Foundation next summer in San Bernardino, California. The summer camp will be held from July 30 to August 3, 2012. It’s open to all kids between the ages of 7 and 15 who are gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive. The kids do not need to have an official diagnosis of celiac disease, only the need to be gluten free.

Van’s is matching all donations this week up to $1,000! Please join me this week in donating to the cause. Even a small donation of $2 will add $4 dollars to the scholarships. If you are feeling generous this holiday season, feel free to contribute as much as you’d like.

You can find more details on this one-week fundraiser at Gluten-Free Saver.


Categories : Events, Newsworthy
Comments (1)

This giveaway is now closed.

We have a little more than three weeks before my kids head back to school this year. So, thoughts of packing snacks and lunches for my kids is on my mind. I’d like to tell you that I only make homemade gluten-free cookies and snacks for my kids. But the truth is I also purchase gluten-free snack products at the stores. Sometimes we just need something quick and easy.

Mi-Del sent me some coupons to review their gluten-free cookies. Mi-Del gluten-free cookies are not new to my family. In fact, Mi-Del’s Arrowroot Animal Cookies were the first gluten-free cookies I purchased when my son, a toddler at the time, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. With no gluten-free goldfish or graham crackers to eat, we used these arrowroot cookies for snacks on a regular basis. Then, after moving to a new state, we couldn’t find them in the stores near our house, and so we adjusted to other cookies and brands.

Last year, we found something new from Mi-Del: We found this cute little box of individual packs of S’mores Cookies. We love these! The box contains five individual 90-calorie packages of little bite-size cookies. They are chocolatey and crunchy with a little marshmallow flavor baked in, too. It’s really nice to have some snacks that you can just grab and go, but it’s even better for having shelf-stable treats that the kids’ teachers can store in their classrooms for unexpected needs. (Unexpected classmate birthday celebrations and class food projects that aren’t gluten-free do come up during the year.)

Since Mi-Del sent us some coupons, the kids and I went looking for some different Mi-Del cookies to try. We wanted to try the Chocolate Caramel and the Chocolate Sandwich cookie varieties listed on the Mi-Del website, but never found them in our local stores. We did, however, find the Pecan Flavored Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Ginger Snaps. And the kids were happy to be the taste testers. 🙂

My son’s favorite was the Pecan flavored cookies. This was my first time trying Mi-Del’s Pecan flavored cookies, and my first thought about them was that they reminded me of vanilla wafers. They certainly aren’t the same as Nilla® Wafers (which aren’t gluten-free), but if you are looking for a gluten-free substitute, I suggest you give these a try. They are about the same size, but perhaps not as crisp, and a little darker in color with a mild taste of pecans and molasses.  They make great cookie sandwiches. Just add some peanut butter, frosting, or ice cream between two of them.

I knew that my daughter’s favorite would be the Chocolate Chip Cookies. Like me, she is a lover of all that is chocolate. Honestly, these are not my favorite chocolate chip cookies, but we do buy them on occasion. I prefer to make my own chewy chocolate chip cookies.

And what about the Ginger Snaps? Well, Mi-Del makes really good ginger snaps. My nieces and sister-in-law (who don’t follow a gluten-free diet) love them. I think the flavor is a little too strong for my two cookie eaters’ sensitive taste buds. I personally think these, as well as their Cinnamon Snaps, are great for making crusts for pies, tarts, and cheesecakes. Just crush them up and use them in your favorite recipes.

Allergens and Ingredients. Mi-Del states that their “Gluten-Free products are routinely tested using the ELISA method to ensure gluten-free status as determined by the World Health Organization.” I know many Celiac Family readers are also sensitive to other grains and allergens, so you may be interested to know that the gluten-free flour used for these cookies is a mixture of corn flour, soy flour, potato flour, rice flour, corn starch, potato starch and xanthan gum. The Chocolate Chip and Pecan Flavored cookies also contain egg and milk. The Ginger Snaps contain egg, but have no dairy ingredients listed.

My final thoughts on the cookies. These small cookies are perfect for snacks. They aren’t chewy nor too crispy, but somewhere in between with a tender crumb. They don’t break too easily, so you can pack them in lunches without getting a lot of broken pieces. And the price is reasonable for purchasing gluten-free cookies in the stores. The S’mores bite-size cookies are a little more pricey because of the extra packaging. If you are not familiar with Mi-Del cookies, please be aware that Mi-Del does make cookies that are not gluten free. So, make sure you are purchasing the cookies that are clearly marked “Gluten-Free” on the packaging!

This giveaway is now closed.

FREE Cookies Giveaway. So, now that I’ve told you what my family thinks of them, what do you you think? Do you want to try them yourself? Mi-Del gave me some coupons to offer to Celiac Family readers. Each coupon is good for one FREE Mi-Del product. Mi-Del’s website also has a product locator that can tell you where to find their products near you.

  • To enter, simply leave a comment below saying which product you would purchase with the coupon. Check out Mi-Del’s gluten-free products on their website to see all the varieties they make gluten free.
  • You can receive bonus entries for letting your friends know about the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog. Just be sure to come back and leave an additional comment below letting us know where you mentioned it.
  • Make sure when you’re leaving a comment, that you put your email address in the appropriate box so that I can contact you if you win.

Three Winners will be chosen using a random generator. Each winner will receive one coupon to redeem at your local store for any Mi-Del product up to $4.00. All comments/entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm EDT, Friday Aug. 19. The winner should respond within 48 hours after being contacted by email. If I’m unable to contact a winner, another winner will be chosen. Good Luck!

Comments (24)

Gluten-Free Food Labeling Summit 2011

Posted by: | Comments (4)

Last week, my husband and I decided last minute to join the crowd in D.C. for the 1 in 133 event. I really didn’t think we would be able to attend, but decided that we could skip out on some after school activities for such an important event. So, I picked up the kids at school and headed to D.C. to pick up my husband and join the event.

We arrived toward the end of the cake building. The top was being placed, and the decorative frosting was being added to the sides. The kids and I even got to decorate a couple smaller cakes that were added at the bottom. We stayed as long as we could and still get the kids home to bed on time. It was a good night to reconnect with fellow Celiacs I hadn’t seen for a long time and meet some new gluten-free friends, too.

I took some photos of the cake, and a few of the kids.  I talked with Linda of The Gluten-Free Homemaker, Jules Shepherd of Jules Gluten Free, John Forberger the Gluten-Free Triathlete, Dr. Alessio Fasano of The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, and so many more.

It really was a great event with many gluten free experts, researchers, sponsors, food manufacturers, bloggers, celiacs, supporters, etc. Also present was a member of the FDA who was there to hear our plea for federal regulation on gluten-free food labels. There really were so many other people there who were instrumental in bringing the night’s event together, but unfortunately I didn’t get all those names and titles. I guess I didn’t have my reporter hat on that night.

I’ll bet you’re wondering if there was any news from the event. I can tell you that the cake was 11’2″ tall. And, the talk about the gluten-free labeling law sounded encouraging. It was difficult to hear the speakers, especially with two fidgety young kids. So, that’s about all of the information I can offer. For more specific details of the event, read Amy Ratner’s more thorough report at Gluten-Free Living. For additional photos and videos of the event, check out the post at The Gluten-Free Homemaker.

There is still more work to do. Please show your support of the effort any way you can:

Categories : Events, Newsworthy
Comments (4)

This has been a busy year for my family for a variety of reasons. And, as such, I haven’t been able to share as much as I wanted to on Celiac Family. But, as this is Celiac Awareness month, I’m going to give my best effort to getting more than just menu plans done this month. - Support Gluten-Free Food Labeling1 in 133 –  It’s a Big Deal! I’m starting with a newsworthy event happening in Washington D.C. on May 4, 2011. You may or may not know that the FDA was expected to have ruled on proper labeling of gluten-free products by now. We expected the determination and law to be effective in 2008. Well, it’s now 2011, and we are still waiting for them to make a decision.

Why do we need a labeling law? Well, most importantly, to ensure that products are not being labeled “gluten free” when, in fact, they aren’t. As it is now, the FDA has not made a ruling about what determines if a product is gluten free or not. We who eat gluten free have relied on our own gluten free community to research products and ingredients. And, as a gluten free community, we have questioned companies to tell us about their ingredients and manufacturing processes. We have made progress, but as the community grows, so will the gluten-free food products, companies, and…well…mistakes, mislabeling, and misunderstandings of what “gluten free” means.

The good news is that the FDA did pass the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 which mandates that the top allergens be clearly identified either in the ingredients or in a separate allergen statement. So, that means that if there is any wheat or any derivative of wheat in the product, it must be clearly labeled. Since wheat is the biggest offender contributing gluten to products, that makes it easier for Celiacs to determine the gluten content of food products.

The bad news is that barley, rye, oats, and malt, which also contain gluten, do not have to be clearly identified on the label. In some cases, the label could include those gluten-containing ingredients in “natural flavoring” or other vague listing. To further complicate the matter, a product can have no gluten in the ingredients but still have gluten in the product due to cross-contamination in the processing of it. So, you can see why so many people (including me) feel it is so necessary to have a ruling about what must be on the food labels, and when a company can state that their product is gluten free.

More good news. As part of the FALCP Act of 2004, the FDA was charged with continuing its work on gluten labeling.  SEC. 206. on GLUTEN LABELING states, “Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with appropriate experts and stakeholders, shall issue a proposed rule to define, and permit use of, the term  “gluten-free” on the labeling of foods. Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue a final rule to define, and permit use of, the term “gluten-free” on the labeling of foods.”

More bad news. It sounded promising, and certainly seemed like a reasonable amount of time to get it done. The research was done and a proposed ruling was registered in 2007. But still, there is no official ruling in 2011. There have been efforts over the past couple years to try to get the gluten free labeling issue back to the top of the priorities. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much progress from the FDA.

Now what? 1 in 133 is a new effort for bringing the issue back to the forefront. The name 1 in 133 was chosen to emphasize the fact that one in 133 Americans are estimated to have Celiac Disease, making it the most common genetic disorder in North America. (Surprised at that number? Maybe that’s because about 95% of those with Celiac Disease have not been diagnosed yet.)

Taking place on May 4th in D.C. will be the first Gluten Free Food Labeling Summit, an event designed to bring attention to the need for clear, accurate, and reliable labeling of gluten content in food products. The event will feature the building of the world’s largest gluten-free cake. Along with the organizers and other supporters of the event, I hope this enormous cake gets the attention of lawmakers to help us push this effort forward, and finally get a ruling on gluten-free labeling.

What can you do to help this effort? Please visit the website 1 in 133. You can find more information about the organization, the project, sign a petition, and donate money for the cause.

Additional Notes on Food Labeling:

  • This press release from the FDA states “Effective January 1, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring food labels to clearly state if food products contain any ingredients that contain protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods. As a result of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), manufacturers are required to identify in plain English the presence of ingredients that contain protein derived from milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, or soybeans in the list of ingredients or to say “contains” followed by name of the source of the food allergen after or adjacent to the list of ingredients.”
  • The current regulations on food labeling in the US indicate that they are also in the process of making a determination of what “gluten free” means. The proposed recommendation is 20 ppm.
  • For further information on food labeling, you can check the Q&A on the FDA food labeling proposal for gluten.
Categories : Events, Newsworthy
Comments (2)

We have a winner! Hannah Gray (Comment #11) was randomly chosen as the GF Holiday Giveaway Galore winner at Celiac Family.

Ten winners were chosen for the giveaway, one at each of the hosting websites. Hannah and the other winners will each receive the wonderful new book “Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?” and the fabulous box of gluten-free goodies. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase a copy of the book today and get it in time for Christmas. 

What Helped You the Most When You Started the Gluten-Free Diet?

Thank you to all the readers who participated in the giveaway. In order to enter the giveaway, I asked readers to tell me about what helped them the most when they first started on the gluten-free diet. Hannah said for her, it was Trader Joe’s gluten free brownies. “With my first bite I said ok I think I can do this. Just knowing I could have that simple treat made it all worth it!”

There were so many good answers that deserved repeating and linking. So, here’s what CeliacFamily readers said helped them the most when getting started on the gluten-free diet. Maybe you’ll find them helpful for you too.

Food Products

Gluten-Free Flours and Baking Mixes

Gluten-Free Frozen Foods

  • Amy’s gluten-free, vegetarian meals
  • Cedar Lane meals

Grocery Stores

Online Resources

People Support

  • Doctors
  • Friends and Family
  • Local support groups

Books: The G-Free Diet

Categories : Giveaway, Newsworthy
Comments (1)